The Wellcome Trust, a medical research charity, has just announced the winners of its 2008 imaging contest. Above is my favorite, a picture of a microscopic blood vessel that has ruptured. You can see single red blood cells slowly leaking out. This was taken by Anne Weston, with a scanning electron micrograph. She says the rupture "is due to a mutation in the ephrin-B2 gene that causes the blood vessels to be more fragile than normal leading to an increased rate of haemorrhaging . . . This kind of leaky blood vessel is frequently found in tumours and in certain other human diseases. " Below, we've got a couple more of the winners.

Hello to my new desktop wallpaper. Annie Cavanaugh took this with a scanning electron micrograph. "Red blood cells clearly showing their biconcave disc shape," is how she describes it. I just want to dive in! They look so puffy and soft.

Yirui Sun took this outer-space-looking picture of stem cells implanted into a mouse brain with a confocal micrograph. He says these are "Mouse neural stem cells, labelled with green fluorescent protein [that] have been transplanted into the brain of a newborn mouse and are developing into oligodendrocytes and astrocytes." In other words, those stem cells are acclimating and turning into brain cells.


Check out the Wellcome site for more images.

Wellcome Image Awards [via Bioephemera]